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Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft BANNED from UK airspace after Ethiopia crash

Boeing 737 Max aircraft jets have been banned from UK airspace following the Ethiopia crash which killed all 157 people on board.

Airlines TUI and Norwegian Air are amongst the carriers that will not be able to take off or land in the UK as they both operate the aircraft as part of their fleets.

The "precautionary measure" was announced this lunchtime.

The UK joins Malaysia, Singapore, China and Australia, in banning the aircraft.

It comes days after the Ethiopian Airlines flight went down just six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa.

The cause of the crash isn’t known, but in the aftermath of the tragedy the Boeing model was grounded by a number of countries.

A spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said today: “Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic incident in Ethiopia on Sunday.

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Rescuers look at a pile of debris at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight

It will affect TUI flights, who use the aircraft

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“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been closely monitoring the situation, however, as we do not currently have sufficient information from the flight data recorder we have, as a precautionary measure, issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.

“The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s safety directive will be in place until further notice.

“We remain in close contact with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and industry regulators globally.”

A TUI spokesman confirmed their 737 Max 8 aircraft had been grounded following the CAA’s decision.

It said in a statement: "Any customers due to fly home today on a 737 MAX 8 from their holiday will be flown back on another aircraft.

"Customers due to travel in the coming days will also travel on holiday as planned on other aircraft."

Norwegian airline, which serves Manchester, Gatwick and Edinburgh, has 18 MAX 8 jets.

Its share price fell after the announcement. At 1.42pm, Norwegian’s shares were down 4.1 percent at 54.70 Norwegian crowns.

Norwegian has 18 MAX 8 jets

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Norwegian has more than 110 Boeing 737–800 aircraft in its fleet, which is not affected by this temporary suspension.

A spokesman said: "Following the decision by the relevant aviation regulatory bodies to temporarily suspend operations of Boeing 737 MAX, Norwegian will not operate any flights with this aircraft type until further notice.

"We remain in close dialogue with the aviation authorities and Boeing, and follow their instructions and recommendations.

"We would like to apologise to customers who will be affected by temporary cancellations and delays, but the safety and security of our customers and colleagues will never be compromised, and once authorities advise to cease operations we will of course comply."

Tomas Hesthammer, Norwegian’s acting Chief Operating Officer added: “In response to the temporary suspension of Being 737 MAX operations by multiple aviation authorities we have taken the decision to not operate flights using this aircraft type until advised otherwise by the relevant aviation authorities.

"We would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused, however, safety will always remain our top priority.”

A number of airlines have also grounded their fleet, including Royal Air Maroc, Cayman Airways, South Korea’s Eastar Jet, Singapore’s SilkAir, Mongolian Airlines, Aeromexico, Aerolíneas Argentinas and Comair, a British Airways franchise in southern Africa.

SilkAir has temporarily grounded its Max 8 fleet

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Meanwhile as we previously reported, Lord Tunnicliffe spoke out after TUI had earlier said it would still use its Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet, touted as the “most reliable aircraft in the world”.

It took delivery in December and plans to have a total of 32.

Asked if it would take any action in response to Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash, the airline previously said: “We are, as always, in close contact with the manufacturer. We have no indication we can’t operate our 737 Max in a safe way like all other planes in our network.”

TUI assured passengers that safety was its priority.

Ryanair has 110 of the 737 Max200 jets – a variant of the Max 8 – which will fly on 40 routes out of London Stansted from May.

At least nine Britons were among 157 killed when the Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed six minutes after take-off on Sunday with no survivors.

In October the same 737 MAX 8 model was crashed in the Lion Air tragedy in Indonesia killing 189.

Aviation analyst Mary Schiavo said: “It’s highly suspicious…a brand-new aircraft that’s gone down twice in a year. That rings alarm bells because that just doesn’t happen.”

Lord Tunnicliffe, who flew previous models of the Boeing 737, urged the Government to stop the jets flying.

He told Transport Minister Baroness Sugg: “In my day we had a rule – if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. The industry seems to have lost sight of this. Initial reports strongly suggest the latest crash is related [to the Lion Air crash].”

A Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed into the Java Sea in October

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He added: “What will the Minister do? Can she explain why the Government is not taking immediate action to ground this aircraft until they have had a satisfactory explanation of the crash?”

Baroness Sugg said the Civil Aviation Authority is working with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency “and any decision to ground flights is best taken at an international level”.

China, the Cayman Islands, Indonesia, South Africa and Ethiopia have grounded theirs Max 8 aircrafts.

China said the crashes “have some degree of similarity”.

Lynette Dray of the University of Central London said of China’s decision to ground its Max 8 fleet: “There’s just not enough information available yet to say definitively whether it is justified.”

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been recovered from Sunday’s wreckage. Investigators said the Lion Air crash pilots had appeared to struggle with a new automated anti-stalling system.

Boeing warned airlines of a problem and is due to release a software update.

The CAA said it is “liaising with the European Aviation Safety Agency”.

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